How have Jem and Scout grown up throughout the book and what are some of lessons they have learned in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Both of the children have matured greatly during the two and one-half years that encompasses their lives in To Kill a Mockingbird. Jem is nearly a teenager and approaching puberty by the end of the story; he is growing hair on his body and he dreams of playing football. Jem has evolved from his sister's playmate to her protector by the final chapters, and he has learned many lessons from his father's wise words, including the meaning of true courage and the importance of showing tolerance to others. Scout has learned to control her temper and to resist the temptation the use her fists to settle arguments. She has learned that women do not always behave as "ladies," but she has come to understand the importance of exhibiting ladylike qualities in some circumstances (ex: the missionary circle tea). She is taught by Atticus that using the "N" word is "common," and she refrains from using it for most of the rest of the novel. She is quick to see the hypocrisy shown by her teachers (Miss Caroline, Miss Gates), and she recognizes that adults do not always tell the truth (Miss Stephanie) or treat others fairly (Aunt Alexandra). She learns that Atticus is not "feeble" and that he has many strong characteristics of which she was not first aware. Most importantly, she sees for herself that people do not always appear as they seem to be (Boo).

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